Monday, October 25, 2004

Schwarzenegger unveils hydrogen Hummer, but not how he planned

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Move Over SUVs, CUVs are here...

Analysts predict the CUV segment will continue on a strong growth path, and it's obvious some of the gains will come at the expense of the traditional SUV. The SUV is far from dead, but just as SUVs gave minivan buyers a new and more-fashionable alternative, CUVs will continue to have the same effect on the SUV market.
We will keep an eye open for what happens in the CrossOver Utility Vehicles market.

Diesel Hybrids?

I am not sure if diesel Hybrids will become a reality soon. In the PNGV program, the Big Three resorted to Diesel Hybrids to meet the 80 miles per gallon target, but the cost was prohibitive. Diesels and Hybrids by themselves cost a few thousand dollars more than corresponding gasoline vehicles, so adding them together may not be easy. If, however, the fuel prices were to rise sharply, and the emissions are not a problem, more effort may go in to the Diesel-Hybrid combination.

Higher Fuel Costs Starting to Hit Consumers

From NYT:
On Oct. 4, the average price of regular gas at the pump reached almost $1.94 a gallon, 2 cents above the price a week earlier and just 12 cents under its May high, according to the Energy Department.

This is not very bad just yet. If the gasoline prices stay above 2 dollars through the winter, coupled with high oil prices leading to increased heating bills, we may see some people, specially from the lower economic stratum, hurt by their oil and gasoline bills.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Hybrid rage

Toyota is doubling the number of Prius hybrids for U.S. market, and Honda Accord Hybrid is getting rave reviews.

High gas prices fuel hybrids' popularity

Ford executives adopt ambitious plan to rein in global warming

Danny Hakim reports that Ford executives are planning to adopt an ambitious plan to rein in global warming:
Ford's goal, according to its own projections, would require an improvement of about 80 percent in the fuel economy of its cars and trucks by 2030, according to people who have been informed of the plan.
...The company had not planned to publicize the strategy because it is a long-term objective subject to change and because the company has recently been under attack from environmental groups for falling short of previously stated environmental objectives. Most recently, Ford said it was abandoning a commitment made in 2000 to improve the fuel economy of its sport utility vehicles by 25 percent over five years.

As the article notes, Ford first promised to with the SUVs what it is now promising to do with all of its products. While I wish them success, why should I not view this as another publicity stunt? ford could gain a lot of credibility on this front, if it braks rank with the rest of the industry and comes forward to support the California's AB 1493 initiative. This is indicate that Ford is committed to reducing fuel consumption, and not just talking about it.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Cost Conundrum Holds Up Diesel Hybrid Cars

From the Boston Globe:
Standard diesel engines burn less fuel than petrol engines. Hybrid technology makes them even more frugal by letting cars run on stored electricity captured during braking and coasting.

But this lands a double whammy on costs. A diesel engine typically costs around 10 percent more than its petrol-driven cousin of similar power, even without the cost of adding an electric motor, batteries and the electronics to run them.

A Toyota diesel hybrid truck that went on sale in November 2003, for instance, costs around $10,000 more than its diesel-only version, a third more.

Whether consumers are ready to pay that kind of premium for super-efficient cars remains open. Toyota doesn't produce a passenger-car version of the diesel hybrid.
Note that they are talking about European and Japanese markets, not the U.S. market.

Disclaimer: All opinions are personal and in no way affiliated to any other person, group or an institution.

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